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Publisher's Summary

"Jane Delury arrives on the scene of her debut with a sensibility fully formed and a breathtaking array of writerly gifts at her command." (Jennifer Egan)

A century-spanning portrait of the inhabitants of a French village, revealing the deception, despair, love, and longing beneath the calm surface of ordinary lives.

What if our homes could tell the stories of others who lived there before us? Set in a small village near Paris, The Balcony follows the inhabitants of a single estate - including a manor and a servants' cottage - over the course of several generations, from the Belle Époque to the present day, introducing us to a fascinating cast of characters. A young American au pair develops a crush on her brilliant employer. An ex-courtesan shocks the servants, a Jewish couple in hiding from the Gestapo attract the curiosity of the neighbors, and a housewife begins an affair while renovating her downstairs. Rich and poor, young and old, powerful and persecuted, all of these people are seeking something: meaning, love, a new beginning, or merely survival.

Throughout, cross-generational connections and troubled legacies haunt the same spaces, so that the rose garden, the forest pond, and the balcony off the manor's third floor bedroom become silent witnesses to a century of human drama.

In her debut, Jane Delury writes with masterful economy and profound wisdom about growing up, growing old, marriage, infidelity, motherhood - in other words, about life - weaving a gorgeous tapestry of relationships, life-altering choices, and fleeting moments across the frame of the twentieth century. A sumptuous narrative of place that burrows deep into individual lives to reveal hidden regrets, resentments, and desires, The Balcony is brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.

©2018 Jane Delury (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"In an assured debut, a delicate fretwork of lives, relationships, and secrets is built up over the course of a century - and linked by a manor in an ugly French village...While the author affectingly composes her characters' individual psychologies in slow dabs of detail, the manor's physicality supplies permanence, its balcony a witness to two of the darkest episodes, and the surrounding forest a penumbra of mystery and continuity. Strikingly deft and nuanced; a writer to watch." (Kirkus)

"The Balcony is a delightful literary page-turner in the best sense of the word. I loved these characters, and the way Jane Delury has woven them together is wonderfully surprising, heartbreaking, and elegant. In terms of 'smart books about going abroad', it's up there with The Vacationers and Helen Walsh's The Lemon Grove. I was sad when it ended-always a good sign." (Katie Crouch, New York Times best-selling author of Girls in Trucks)

"The Balcony is sweeping, suspenseful, rich with surprises and eerie atmosphere. Jane Delury arrives on the scene of her debut with a sensibility fully formed and a breathtaking array of writerly gifts at her command." (Jennifer Egan)

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Terrible

Too many characters who are ambiguously described. Book jumps around from various time periods whom I couldn’t tell if they were random or related. Thereby making no character fully developed. The ending was really bad. I think the first character comes back to the house but is married to someone she doesn’t love and the man she does love, comes for a visit but nothing is resolved. It is a series of incomplete family stories leaving the listener bored and confused. If you,don’t know French don’t bother. I have no idea why i’s even called THE BALCONY.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful